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Obama's prescription for a greener world

May 31, 2014 16:23 IST

Obama's prescription for a greener world

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Lalit K Jha in Washington

Aimed at reducing dangerous carbon pollution, US President Barack Obama today said he would unveil a new set of environmental guidelines that would build a low-carbon, clean energy economy.

In his weekly address to the nation, Obama discussed new actions by the Environmental Protection Agency to cut hazardous carbon pollution, a plan that builds on the efforts already taken by many states, cities and companies.

Obama discussed this new plan from the Children's National Medical Center in Washington DC where he visited children whose asthma is aggravated by air pollution.

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Image: US President Barack Obama.
Photographs: Reuters

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Obama's prescription for a greener world

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As a parent, Obama said he is dedicated to make sure the planet is cleaner and safer for future generations.

"Today, about 40 per cent of America's carbon pollution comes from power plants.

"But right now, there are no national limits to the amount of carbon pollution that existing plants can pump into the air we breathe. None," he said.

"We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury, sulphur, and arsenic that power plants put in our air and water.

“But they can dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air.

"It's not smart, it's not safe, and it doesn't make sense," said the US President.

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Image: Members of environmental activist group Greenpeace pose with posters which read 'Power to the people! Clean energy now' in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin April 13, 2014.
Photographs: Steffi Loos/Reuters

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Obama's prescription for a greener world

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That's why, a year ago, he said, he directed the EPA to build on the efforts of many states, cities, and companies, and come up with commonsense guidelines for reducing dangerous carbon pollution from power plants.

"This week, we're unveiling these proposed guidelines, which will cut down on the carbon pollution, smog, and soot that threaten the health of the most vulnerable Americans, including children and the elderly.

"In just the first year that these standards go into effect, up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks will be avoided -- and those numbers will go up from there," Obama said.

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Image: A snow-covered Popocatepetl volcano spews a cloud of steam into the air in Puebla, Mexico.
Photographs: Imelda Medina/Reuters
Tags: Obama , EPA

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Obama's prescription for a greener world

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"These standards were created in an open and transparent way, with input from the business community.

“States and local governments weighed in, too.

"In fact, nearly a dozen states are already implementing their own market-based programmes to reduce carbon pollution. And over 1,000 mayors have signed agreements to cut their cities' carbon pollution," he said.

Obama said, as president, and as a parent, he "refuses to condemn children to a planet that's beyond fixing".

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Image: Protests against climate change are rising the world over.
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Obama , States

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"The shift to a cleaner energy economy won't happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way," he argued.

"But a low-carbon, clean energy economy can be an engine of growth for decades to come.

“America will build that engine.

“America will build the future.

"A future that's cleaner, more prosperous, and full of good jobs -- a future where we can look our kids in the eye and tell them we did our part to leave them a safer, more stable world," Obama said.

 


Image: Obama said he is dedicated to make sure the planet is cleaner and safer for future generations.
Photographs: Reuben NV/Rediff

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